Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro - Full Review

February 23, 2016

Xiaomi has a reputation for delivering kick-ass earphones at jaw dropping prices. The Mi In-Ear Headphones (aka Pistons 2.0 / 2.1) was one such model which we'd easily recommend in a heartbeat. But...what we're looking at today is the newer Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro (aka Quantie) going for SGD 27.99 / INR 1,399.

Before going further, we've to mention that we had the pleasure of meeting Xiaomi PR Manager, John Chan, who was able to share on the background of Xiaomi earphones and the role of 1MORE Design, which has a huge influence in the development of the earphones. In Singapore, Xiaomi chose not to release the Piston 3.0, but instead, released the higher-end model known as the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro. This model is what we'll take a full look into.

Pros (+): Very agreeable price; Bass heavy sound.
Cons (-): Mid-range could be improved; No casing provided.

Design
Onto the unboxing.
The box comes clothed in a soft material with a seal edge at the back. 

The box itself is pretty compact as you can compare with the earbud size.

Tearing open the strip at the back gives access to a nifty cardboard design where you flip two tabs - the first to get access to the box contents, the second to pull everything out in one fell swoop. Convenient for sure. 

Once pulled, two tiny boxes pop out. The smaller one (left) contains 3 silicon ear tips...

...and the opening the top box gives you access to the earphones proper along with really tiny user guide (all in Chinese I might add).

Taking everything out, the packaging contents are incredibly basic. Strangely enough, a carrying pouch is omitted.
- Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro
- 4 x Silicon earbuds (XS / S / M (default) / L)
- User guide

Ok, now for the earbuds proper! 
The tips now point inwards ie. towards the ears, a contrast to the straight tips of the Pistons 2.0. The buds are pretty light at 14g and slip in the ears snugly. The 'HD Audio' marking on the back of the buds provide a nice touch.

The 1.25m cable comes silicon cables above the Y-cord and a nice-to-the-touch braided wire below, punctuated with a straight 3.5mm jack a the end. Apparently, kevlar fiber cables are used to protect the wiring to enhance durability. Overall, the cable materials used pretty much worked for us. 

Features
The in-line remote lies on the right side of the cord. There are the 3 buttons that work fine on my Android device (Galaxy S4) - one multi-function button flanked by volume controls. The microphone hole is also found at the back.
The MEMS microphone's purpose is to provide better voice quality and lesser noise interference. In a bus ride, I asked opinions of some folks on the other side of my calls and they claimed they could hear me just fine.

Performance
Knowing it is a hybrid unit boasting dynamic and balanced armature drivers sparked some curiousity on the audio. Theoretically, dynamic drivers serve to provide a deep bass while balance armature drivers promise a better clarity. 

Gearing up with the M-size tips, we can say the audio quality did not disappoint. The sound is unexpectedly heavy, great for trance or R&B lovers. For the clarity of Sam Smith's vocals on Writing's On The Wall, the sparkle wasn't quite there, but it comes through satisfyingly. The mid-range left something to be desired, as it felt like the full soundrange was somewhat veiled. However, sound quality is subjective. Everyone has different preferences. Apparently, Grammy award winning tuner, Luca Bignardi's services were asked of in the acoustic tuning. At the very least, you know the type of audio delivery he likes :)

Noise isolation was fair but not overly impressive. While ambient sound on bus rides were blocked considerably, bus roars and high frequencies easily squeezed through.

Overall
The Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphone Pro is a very well priced pair of buds for the type of audio it provides. To put things in perspective, at this price, you'd likely be getting entry-grade earphones from other manufacturers. Xiaomi is giving you a well built pair of earphones at a budget price. Want a recommendation for earphones under SGD 50? Look no further.

Where To Buy
If you like what you have read, do feel free to support me by buying them from this Amazon affiliate link. They go for USD 19.


Credit to Xiaomi for an evaluation unit.

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